Bioleft is a community that builds an open seed exchange and breeding network to offer alternative solutions to the challenges of agriculture. Based on collective intelligence, open knowledge, agreements and solidarity, we develop social and technological innovations that allow the exchange of information. We link local and scientific knowledge to enhance the role of farmers in seed conservation and breeding. In this way we generate a greater availability of biodiverse and resilient seeds, considered as a commons.
This vision was co-designed through an exercise in collective ideation.
Seeds are the central input of agriculture, the basis of food. Each one saves the information to create others; for millennia, farmers have improved them by crossbreeding and selection. But the ability to patent genetic sequences -and, in some countries, entire seed varieties- restricted this free flow of knowledge.
Today just six companies control more than 60% of the world's seed production. This concentration threatens biodiversity and undermines food and technological sovereignty. In Argentina and other countries in the region, patents, for now, are only used in some crops with genetic modification; but this can change. That is why an alternative is necessary that protects the genetic material of the seeds from future restrictions and guarantees their continuous circulation: open seeds.
To do so we designed three tools:
Legal: licenses to transfer seeds that remain open for research, development and registration of new varieties. It includes a viral clause: improvements derived from Bioleft material will also be Bioleft, that is, open.
Technological: a web platform to record and map the varieties of seeds that are exchanged, the exchanges, and the continuous improvements. Participatory Plant Breeding projects are supported there and a living seed bank and a network of experimental fields potentially much broader than any other is generated.
Methodological: Bioleft is co-designed through participatory and horizontal processes and methodologies, enriched by a great diversity of participants.
We seek to promote exchange and democratize access to knowledge, help make more and better varieties of seeds available, support more sustainable types of agriculture, and promote food and technological sovereignty.
More information (papers on open seeds, blog posts and videos) in Resources.
Contribution to the Sustainable Development GoalsWith our work we contribute to the fulfillment of the targets listed below, which correspond to 7 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Zero hunger (2), Reduced inequalities (10), Sustainable cities and communities (11 ), Responsible consumption and production (12), Climate action (13), Life on land (15), Partnerships for the goals (17).
- 2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment.
- 2.4 By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.
- 2.5 By 2020, maintain the genetic diversity of seeds, cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and their related wild species, including through soundly managed and diversified seed and plant banks at the national, regional and international levels, and promote access to and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, as internationally agreed.
- 10.2 By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.
- 10.3 Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard.
- 11.4 Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage.
- 11.A Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning.
- 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
- 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.
- 15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
- 15.6 Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed.
- 17.17 Promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies to developing countries on favourable terms, including on concessional and preferential terms, as mutually agreed.